My boy would still be alive now if 'Martha's Rule' was in place: Father of ... trends now

My boy would still be alive now if 'Martha's Rule' was in place: Father of ... trends now
My boy would still be alive now if 'Martha's Rule' was in place: Father of ... trends now

My boy would still be alive now if 'Martha's Rule' was in place: Father of ... trends now

A heartbroken father claims Martha's Rule, which grants hospital patients' relatives the right to a second medical opinion, could have saved his son's life. 

Balram Patel died at St Thomas' Hospital in London in August last year from a build-up of fluid that flooded his lungs.

The 30-year-old had multiple disabilities and suffered from six conditions, including rare ones which affected his heart and lung, as well as liver cancer. His illnesses saw him spend weeks as an inpatient at Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals, where specialist doctors and nurses cared to his complex needs.

While in St Thomas' Hospital last July, his father Jay says that he was given the wrong treatment – and refused a second opinion – that he claims ultimately lead to his son's death.

Mr Patel, 59, told MailOnline: 'I'm absolutely heartbroken. The whole family is. I have lost my baby.

Balram Patel (right) died at St Thomas' Hospital in London in August last year from a pulmonary oedema – he suffocated following a build-up of fluid in the lungs. The 30-year-old, had multiple disabilities and six life-threatening conditions, including a rare heart condition, a rare lung condition and liver cancer. He was looked after by his doting parents Jay (left) and Louise Patel at their home in north London

Balram Patel (right) died at St Thomas' Hospital in London in August last year from a pulmonary oedema – he suffocated following a build-up of fluid in the lungs. The 30-year-old, had multiple disabilities and six life-threatening conditions, including a rare heart condition, a rare lung condition and liver cancer. He was looked after by his doting parents Jay (left) and Louise Patel at their home in north London

During his short life he spent weeks and months as an in-patient at Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals where specialist doctors and nurses cared to his complex needs. He particularly suffered from breathing difficulties linked to the rare condition of 'plastic bronchitis', which is similar to cystic fibrosis. And it was while he was in St Thomas' Hospital in July last year that his father Jay Patel claims he was given the wrong treatment – and refused a second opinion – that he claims ultimately lead to his son's death

During his short life he spent weeks and months as an in-patient at Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals where specialist doctors and nurses cared to his complex needs. He particularly suffered from breathing difficulties linked to the rare condition of 'plastic bronchitis', which is similar to cystic fibrosis. And it was while he was in St Thomas' Hospital in July last year that his father Jay Patel claims he was given the wrong treatment – and refused a second opinion – that he claims ultimately lead to his son's death

'If my request for a second opinion had been honoured in a timely fashion then my son would not have died at 4am on 9th August last year.'

Businessman Mr Patel's dispute with medical staff revolves around how his son was cared for after he was admitted to hospital last year with breathing difficulties.

Balram, who led a happy life and enjoyed spending time with his family and his pet guinea pigs, was first admitted to Barnet General Hospital. 

He returned home shortly afterwards.

But tests showed he had developed an infection and he was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital a few days later as he developed a build-up of fluid in his lungs, medically known as pulmonary oedema.

Balram failed to respond to oral diuretic medication and he was put on intravenous (IV) drugs, which appeared to work.

Following an outbreak of Covid in the hospital it was agreed that Balram – who was clinically vulnerable – would be better treated at home.

District nurses could not be found to administer the IV medication, however.

Clinicians decided the medication could be administered through a syringe pump, rather than straight into bloodstream, known as a 'subcutaneous injection'.

Mr Patel and his wife Louise found a surgeon, a close family friend, who was willing to administer this method. However, the hospital failed to contact him or a nursing agency which was also available.

Instead, doctors at St Thomas' decided that Balram could be treated at home with oral diuretic medication – even though they had not worked before.

Mr Patel said: 'The consultant told me Balram no longer needed IV or subcutaneous treatment and that he would be fine on oral diuretics [tablets].

'I said: "No way! This doesn't make any sense. Less than one week ago you switched from oral medication to IV because the oral diuretics were not

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